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Sony WX350 review

Ben Pitt
25 Sep 2014
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
199
inc VAT

A superb balance of zoom range, camera size and price, the Sony WX350 delivers the image goods, too

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Specifications

Sensor resolution: 18 megapixels, Sensor size: 1/2.3in, Viewfinder: None, LCD screen: 3in (460,800 dots), Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths): 20x (24-480mm), 35mm-equivalent aperture: f/20-36, Weight: 164g, Size (HxWxD): 57x96x26mm

With its 20x zoom lens, slim 26mm body and £199 price, the WX350 slots in neatly between the dinky WX220 and chunky HX60 in Sony's compact camera range. We suspect that most people will find it the most appealing of the three – not as fiddly as the WX220 but easier to slip into a pocket than the HX60.

The camera is big enough to accommodate a 3in screen, mode dial and rear wheel. The latter is quicker than buttons for adjusting settings, but this isn't a camera for people who want manual control. There's no priority or manual exposure mode, manual focus or freely movable autofocus point. There's no quick-access menu, so functions such as focus area, white balance and ISO speed are tucked away on pages three and four of the sprawling 16-page menu.

Fortunately, Sony's Superior Auto mode gives little reason to adjust settings manually. It automatically engages HDR mode in high-contrast scenes, taking three frames at different exposure levels and combining them to capture more highlight and shadow detail. When shooting in gloomy conditions, it captures four frames and combines them to reduce noise. However, it sensibly avoids both techniques when it detects a moving subject that would make it impossible to blend multiple frames, and instead chooses a faster shutter speed to minimise motion blur.

Wi-Fi is nicely implemented, especially for NFC-equipped Android devices. Just holding them together launched a remote viewfinder app within five seconds, ready to capture a group self-portrait. Photos are transferred automatically in this mode, and captured shots can be browsed on the camera or connected device before selecting for transfer.

Performance is up to scratch, taking 1.2s between shots in normal use. This increased to around five seconds when capturing and combining multiple frames, but it's easy to switch from Superior Auto to Intelligent Auto to deactivate these modes when you don't want to wait. The fastest continuous mode captured ten shots in a second and then took 11s to save them. If you don't need such as fast burst, there's a slower 2fps mode, although it took just as long to save all its shots.

Image quality is good rather than great. The lens quality is the highlight, with sharp focus throughout the generous 20x zoom range – a superb achievement for such a slim camera. Cameras we've seen with 30x zooms were able to resolve a little more detail in distant subjects, but there wasn't much in it. Photos weren't so impressive in low light, with a yellow cast in artificial light and grainy smudges in place of fine detail. Photos created from four blended exposures were much better, though. We can't imagine anyone printing enlargements for low-light shots taken with this camera, but they're good enough for sharing online.

^ High-contrast details look better than areas with subtler textures, but overall the WX350 handles this scene well – 1/100s, f/4, ISO 80, 39mm (equivalent)

^ Focus is sharp at the full zoom extension, although it deteriorates towards the edges of the frame – 1/250s, f/6.5, ISO 200, 480mm (equivalent)

^ Noise reduction has glossed over the fine hair texture but there's still plenty of definition in this telephoto shot – 1/250s, f/6.5, ISO 200, 480mm (equivalent)

^ The camera detected a moving subject and pushed the shutter and ISO speeds up. The resulting picture exhibits lots of noise but it's arguably preferable to a blurry subject – 1/200s, f/5, ISO 3200, 89mm (equivalent)

^ These low-light skin textures are quite smudged but it's good enough for sharing online at modest sizes – 1/100s, f/5.6, ISO 800, 134mm (equivalent)

^ The light source looks too yellow in this shot; switching to Program mode and adjusting the white balance would have fixed it – 1/3s, f/4, ISO 800, 39mm (equivalent)

The WX350 performed superbly in our video tests, with crisp details, natural colours, respectable quality in low light and steady handheld shots at the full zoom extension.

Other cameras offer bigger zooms, better controls and higher image quality, particularly in low light. Those cameras are bulkier and pricier, though. The WX350 is certainly good enough to satisfy point-and-shoot photographers, and its 20x zoom ensures significantly better results than any smartphone.

Hardware
Sensor resolution18 megapixels
Sensor size1/2.3in
Focal length multiplier5.6x
ViewfinderNone
Viewfinder magnification (35mm-equivalent), coverageN/A
LCD screen3in (460,800 dots)
ArticulatedNo
TouchscreenNo
Orientation sensorYes
Photo file formatsJPEG
Maximum photo resolution4,896x3,672
Photo aspect ratios4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1
Video compression formatAVCHD up to 28Mbit/s, MP4 (AVC) up to 10Mbit/s
Video resolutions1080p at 25/30/50/60fps, 1080i at 25/30fps, VGA at 25/30fps
Slow motion video modesN/A
Maximum video clip length (at highest quality)29m 59s
Controls
Exposure modesAuto
Shutter speed rangeAuto
ISO speed range100 to 12800
Exposure compensationEV +/-2
White balanceAuto, 7 presets, manual
Auto-focus modesMulti, centre, face detect
Metering modesMulti, centre, spot, face detect
Flash modesAuto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modesSingle, continuous, self-timer, HDR, panorama
Lens
Optical stabilisationYes
Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths)20x (24-480mm)
Maximum aperture (wide-tele)f/3.5-6.5
35mm-equivalent aperturef/20-36
Manual focusNo
Closest macro focus (wide)5cm
Closest macro focus (tele)200cm
Physical
Card slotSDXC, Memory Stick Pro HG Duo
Memory suppliedNone
Battery typeLi-ion
ConnectivityUSB, Micro HDMI
WirelessWi-Fi, NFC
GPSNo
HotshoeNo
Body materialAluminium
AccessoriesUSB cable
Weight164g
Size (HxWxD)57x96x26mm
Buying information
WarrantyOne-year RTB
Price including VAT£199
Supplierwww.wexphotographic.com
Detailswww.sony.co.uk
Part codeDSCWX350B.CEH

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